Bergenfield—When Congregation Ohr HaTorah holds their third annual shul dinner on June 13, the camaraderie in the room will be palpable. The shul will co-honor Romy and Avrami Tabacznik and Rachel and Aaron Kopstick as their guests of honor. The Kopsticks and Tabaczniks have been active in Ohr HaTorah since the shul’s inception over 12 years ago, and continue to stay involved on many different levels.
Working closely with Mara D’Atra Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, both families have helped the shul flourish in Bergenfield. “Over the years, we have had tremendous growth in the shul, success that is directly attributed to both the Kopstick and Tabacznik families who have dedicated so much of their time to Ohr HaTorah,” said shul president Ari Katz.
Aaron Kopstick has served as gabbai rishon, shul president and is currently vice president. He is always there to help with whatever the shul needs done to help pull events together, has led the youth committee, spearheaded the creation of Tishrei and Shavuot learning programs for children and helped form a Friday night beit midrash for men. Most recently, he was a driving force behind the creation of the shul’s new Shabbat hashkama minyan. “Aaron is always looking to take the shul to the next point of growth,” said Binny Baum, one of the shul’s vice presidents.
“Together with his wife Rachel, they mobilized the shul body to expand the youth activities as the children in the shul grew older.” Kopstick, in the many roles he took up in Ohr HaTorah, considers his connection with Rav Sobolofsky to be one of the most inspirational and rewarding aspects. “Our family has the zechus to grow up in the presence of a huge talmid chacham on a weekly, and even nightly, basis, to the point where our children even ask the rav their own shailahs.”
“Aaron has been an active member of the shul as president and vice president, but also does so much behind the scenes,” said Rav Sobolofsky. “Aaron is attuned to the nuances of the needs within the shul, and I have benefited tremendously from his advice.”
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity for our children to grow up in Ohr HaTorah,” said Rachel Kopstick. “When our boys were younger they were able to learn davening sitting next to their father in shul.” Now as the shul has grown and their family has gotten older, “the shul, the rav and the rebbetzin have expanded what they offer and literally our whole family is a part of Ohr HaTorah and can take advantage of all the shul has to offer.” Said the rav, “Rachel is always there to support and encourage Aaron in his efforts for the shul.”
“As busy as Rav Sobolofsky is, he manages to be completely accessible,” continued Kopstick. “People are unaware of how much passes through their house between his and Rebbetzin Efrat’s activities, halachic guidance, leadership, chesed and connections. They are involved in so much for the good of the shul, the community and klal Yisrael as a whole, and it has been an honor to be able to witness some of that.”
As active members of the greater community as well, Aaron volunteers to coach in community sports leagues. Rachel is a first grade morah at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey, inspiring many of Ohr HaTorah’s own first grade boys with their first experience in learning the words of Sefer Bereishit.
The Tabaczniks have been a vital part of the shul in their quiet and understated way, but their contribution is referred to as “some of the most important work in Ohr HaTorah.” Avrami Tabacznik has been the treasurer of Ohr HaTorah since the shul’s earliest days, and as the shul has grown, expenses have grown too, and he has worked hard to ensure that everything is run smoothly. He ensures the financial aspects are coordinated from the various fundraising events to managing membership dues.
“Avrami is not just a treasurer; he is someone the shul looks to with trust to handle the delicate financial matters,” said Rav Sobolofsky. “He not only manages the shul’s finances, but handles the tzedakah campaigns as well, ensuring everything is distributed properly.” When Ohr HaTorah recently bought a property for expansion, Tabacznik worked with the lending bank to ensure proper financing.
The Tabaczniks do not limit their dedication to the fiscal aspects of the shul. They were instrumental in bringing the Motzei Shabbat “Avos U’banim” learning to Ohr HaTorah, a program that allowed many of the boys in the shul to learn and interact with Rav Sobolofsky. “Baruch Hashem, the shul has really grown and developed tremendously over the past 12-plus years. There are more minyanim, shiurim for both men and women, and programming catered to the youth of the shul,” said Avrami. “If we have opportunities to do whatever we can in order to help the shul continue to grow and flourish, we love to do our part and take those opportunities to help out. Hopefully our kids perceive that mindset from us and will take the same attitude to help the community as they grow into young adults.”
Romy has been a leader in the shul as well. She has served on virtually every sisterhood committee, planning innovative events to bring the women together and attending countless shiurim. “If there has been an event for the women, Romy has been a part of it in some way,” said the rav. This past year she co-chaired the shul’s hachnasat orchim event, which helps increase the warmth and camaraderie in the shul, an attribute the Tabaczniks are known for. Romy is known as someone the sisterhood can turn to, whether she is on a committee or not, and she will step up and arrange whatever is asked of her, and run it beautifully and flawlessly, too. The Tabaczniks are known for their generosity outside of the shul as well. Romy is always available to bring meals for families on any occasion. As a nurse practitioner, she is a caring and nurturing presence to the patients she interacts with on a constant basis. “Our kids have literally grown up in Ohr HaTorah. When the shul started, our oldest son, Yaakov, was a baby less than a year old,” said Romy. “We are now looking forward to, God willing, celebrating his bar mitzvah in the shul this coming December.”
“It has been beautiful to watch both families literally raise their families as a part of our shul,” said Rav Sobolofsky. “They have grown up watching their parents’ involvement and chesed, and are now following in their paths.”
Please join Congregation Ohr HaTorah at Keter Torah in Teaneck on Tuesday, June 13, at 7 p.m. for the annual dinner as the kehilla gathers together to acknowledge the contributions these families have made. To sign up go to http://www.ohrhatorah.com/dinner/.
By Jenny Gans